University 100

  • Word cloud displaying key course topics and campus partners for University 100

About University 100

Course description, assignments, student learning outcomes, and student comments about U100.

Course Description

University 100: The Freshman Seminar (3 units, letter-graded). This course introduces first-time freshmen to the University as an institution, a culture, and an intellectual experience. Academic success is the central goal of the course. Topics include academic skills (writing, reading, note-taking, test-taking and information competence, as well as critical thinking); the value of higher education; the history and culture of CSUN; lifelong learning; the discourse of higher education; ethics and responsibility; diversity in higher education; advisement; health; and self-assessment. The course includes weekly writing assignments, frequent in-class exercises and some on-campus field trips. (Available for General Education, Lifelong Learning.) (IC)

Typical U100 Class Activities & Assignments

  • Canvas Discussion Forums
  • College Skills Activity/Assignment
  • Community-Based Learning Project
  • Connecting to the Campus Report
  • Essay
  • Ethic Decision-Making Activity/Assignment
  • Freshman Celebration Project
  • Freshman Common Reading Activities/Assignments
  • Goal-Setting Activity/Assignment
  • Health & Safety Activity/Assignment
  • Information Competence Assignment
  • Readings
  • Self-Discovery Activity/Assignment
  • Time Management Activity/Assignment
  • U100 Library Quiz
  • Welcome Activity

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of your U100 class, you will be able to:

  1. Describe CSUN policies and resources central to your success as a student.
  2. Describe some of your strengths as a learner.
  3. Describe ways in which you are an agent in your own academic success.
  4. Find and use appropriate information resources to negotiate complex challenges (for example, ethical dilemmas, academic assignments, and/or issues of personal identity).
  5. Demonstrate your ability to use at least one time management technique.
  6. Name [at least] two people you have met at CSUN whom you can call on for help.

Lifelong Learning: GE Subject Exploration Outcomes Met by University 100

  1. Students will identify and actively engage in behaviors conducive to individual health, well-being, or development, and understand the value of maintaining these behaviors throughout their lifespan.
  2. Identify and apply strategies leading to health, well-being or development for community members of diverse populations.
  3. Students will apply the knowledge and skills of science and technology and evaluate how they impact individuals, the community, and/or society. 

Information Competence 

Information Competence (IC) goal: Students will progressively develop information competence skills throughout their undergraduate career by developing a basic understanding of information retrieval tools and practices as well as improving their ability to evaluate and synthesize information ethically.

Information Competence Student Learning Outcomes Met by University 100

Students will:

  1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed;
  2. Demonstrate effective search strategies for finding information using a variety of sources and methods;
  3. Locate, retrieve, and evaluate a variety of relevant information including print and electronic formats.
  4. Organize and synthesize information in order to communicate effectively;
  5. Explain the legal and ethical dimensions of the use of information.


In U100, we assess student learning by tracking student retention (year one to year two), student progress towards degree (graduation), student grades, comments on course evaluations submitted at the end of each term, and--occasionally--by hosting student focus groups (most recently in 2014). 

Formal assessment of the six SLOs for University 100 began in 2011 with SLO 6: "Name [at least] two people you have met at CSUN whom you can call on for help." Each fall, faculty are asked to address student learning with respect to another SLO.  We finished our first pass through the six SLOs in 2016 when we collected data on SLO 1: "Describe CSUN policies and resources central to your success as a student." In AY 2017-2018, assessment will focus on redesigning University 100.

Reports summarizing course-wide results are available on request from the course director:

Here is a sample report provided to U100 faculty in May 2013, summarizing the results of our assessment of SLO 5 (which we addressed in fall 2012):

Time Management: SLO 5 Assessment Report (2013) (.pdf)

As a result of discussion of this report with the faculty, we decided to focus more closely on using the Associated Students Planners as a time management tool in U100.

What Is University 100?

What is University 100: The Freshman Seminar?

In University 100, students:

  • Learn and practice skills necessary for success in college, life, and career, with a strong emphasis on time management, self-advocacy, and independence.
  • Learn and practice skills necessary for lifelong learning, including information competence and critical thinking.
  • Participate in self-assessment and reflection activities to help them learn more about themselves, including their strengths, as well as areas for improvement.
  • Learn how to set and meet personal, academic, and career goals.
  • Learn about the various resources and policies on campus through on-site visits and in-class presentations.
  • Have the opportunity to develop a strong sense of belonging at CSUN through the development of connections and relationships with classmates, the campus, and members of the campus community.
  • Participate in frequent learning-centered activities and discussions.

U100 is designed for all freshmen, regardless of academic background. U100 is neither a lecture course nor an endless series of campus field trips and guest speakers. Woven through the on-site visits and in-class presentations are regular opportunities for students to learn together through in-class activities and discussions. U100 is not an extension of freshman composition, although it typically includes one short essay and frequent short writing assignments. Some U100 faculty may choose to incorporate quizzes, but there is no final exam. We like to say that the final exam for U100 is the rest of your life. A grade of “A” is within reach of most students, but it is not an easy course. There are many assignments of varying length and complexity. Each one has carefully considered and clear objectives for contributing to the development of student success, both in college and beyond. 

The keys to success in U100 include: 

  • Good time management.
  • Attention to detail, academic engagement, and thoughtful effort in completing course assignments and activities.
  • Learning how, when, and where to ask for help with challenges.

What Students Say about U100

Looking back on what she learned in U100, Mariana Marquez (Psychology '19) says,"I know how to navigate through school like a pro."

Writing anonymously on end-of-semester course evaluations, CSUN freshmen had these comments about the course and what they learned:

  • I learned that I can graduate and be an open person.
  • Helped me think more about possible majors.
  • I now have a better understanding of what I am good at and what I can do with my major. Overall a great class and a great teacher.
  • Introduced me to new ways of studying.
  • As a student and a person I have learned to use my strengths to pursue success.
  • Helped me manage my time and prioritize.
  • Allowed me to learn about various programs on campus and taught me that there is more to college than just an education.
  • The goal oriented assignments and thoughts about the future really helped.
  • Useful information that applies to school and outside life.
  • Made me comfortable enough to ask questions.
  • I know now that someone at CSUN will always be there to listen when I need help.
  • I learned more about what I will need to do in the future in order to meet my career goals.